By Gregory Twachtman in Washington, DC

L-3 Communications chairman and chief executive Frank Lanza died yesterday.

The company is not disclosing a cause of death, although in a statement it notes that Lanza was recovering from surgery. “His death was sudden and unexpected,” says L-3 director Robert Millard of L-3’s 74-year-old co-founder.

Lanza began his career as an engineer with the Philco Western Development Laboratory, and in 1959 he joined the Dalmo Victor Division of Textron where he managed the development and production of major electronic warfare programmes.

He left Dalmo Victor in 1972 as vice president to join Loral, where he started as president of Loral Electronic Systems and left in 1996 as president and chief operating officer of the entire company. After Lockheed Martin’s acquisition of several Loral businesses, Lanza joined Lockheed as president and chief operating officer of the company’s command, control, communication and infomation (C3i) and systems integration unit, which comprised the newly purchased Loral units.

Lanza left Lockheed in 1997 to co-founded L-3.

“There is no question that Frank Lanza has been one of the most visionary business leaders in the defense industry,” notes Millard.

L-3’s board will meet today to discuss a succession programme.

Source: Flight International